Home Add to Favorite Contact Submit  
             29 March, 2020
 

    
Category:  Articles » Recreation & Sports » Fishing

 

Spring Fishing for Pike & Musky

Popularity:
         Views: 1934
2007-05-07 10:32:22     
Article by David Wright

It may sound silly to say that Inland Northwest anglers have discovered "Esox" fishing. After all, the "Northern Pike" and its half brothers and sisters, the "Tiger Musky", have been around this neck of the woods for several years. Northern Pike were illegally introduced into the lateral lakes of the Coeur d'Alene river system in the 1970's with a mature pike fishery being pretty much established throughout all of Lake Coeur d'Alene by the 1980's. There is also a well-established Pike population in the Pend Orielle River system. While the debate rages over the negative impacts to the native species and established cold-water fisheries, the fact remains, the Northern Pike is probably here to stay. During a recent visit to Coeur d'Alene, "In-Fisherman" personality, "Al Lindner" was quoted as saying that the next U.S. record pike may very well come from Coeur d'Alene Lake.

In addition to the Northern Pike, intentional and planned introduction by fisheries biologists of the Northern Pike/Musky hybrids, (known as the "Tiger Musky"), have been stocked in select lakes in Washington State to provide a large species trophy fish and to predate on populations of less desirable species.But do many anglers actually fish to intentionally target these species? The majority of catches of Northern Pike fall into the category of "incidental catches". That is, they are caught while fishing for other species, predominantly by bass fisherman. The fact is that fishing lures and techniques utilized for bass work quite well for pike also. Furthermore, since bass and pike tend to inhabit the same areas this further elevates the frequency of pike or musky catches.

Many area have anglers found that the thrill of the strike and the subsequent battles to boat these behemoths were worth the effort to target them specifically. Taking advantage of the opportunistic feeding behavior of Pike, "dead-baiting" or "smelting" was born. A waiting game, "smelting" involves the use of a frozen dead smelt or herring embedded with two hooks and suspended off the bottom by means of a large foam float or bobber. The fisherman simply waits until the bobber starts to take off and then sets the hook. While effective, and responsible for some very large Pike, the technique misses the excitement that comes with a top-water strike. Bass fishermen know what I'm talking about. Nothing gets the heart thumping more than seeing your quarry ferociously attack a lure while aggressively ripping it across the water.

Actively targeting and pursuing Pike and Tiger Musky often involves utilizing good fish-finding sonar to track submerged weed lines, research into where the fish stage and spawn in the spring, and often hundreds, (if not thousands), of casts of large heavy jerk-baits, spoons, spinner baits, and buck tails. It's definitely not for the fisherman who is happy to sit and nap on the shore waiting for the fish to bite. Sometimes all the angler will get for his trouble is sore arms and shoulders, but often, he is rewarded with a heart-stopping strike where his prey pounds the lure resulting in a water-churning fight.

Large Pike in the early spring take to the shallow, weed-choked bays and inlets to spawn. Often retrieving baits through this salad of vegetation is nearly impossible. Making it even more maddening... you can often see large monster pike just below the surface. You know that there is no way that you can retrieve a jerk-bait past them without snagging huge clumps in the process. Even if you could, they often turn their noses up at larger baits during this time. The answer is often "finesse baits". Small soft plastic fish imitations, weighted only with an off-set hook, and cast past the targeted fish. Spinning rods and reels seem to work best with such light weight baits but some adept bait-casters will do just fine as well. As you retrieve you attempt to bring the bait within eyesight of, but not too close. If you see the Pike aggressively moving after the bait you might actually speed up your retrieval. You might get a fish to eye your bait, approach to within inches, and then turn away. Varying your presentation by a series of twitches, stalls, jerks and teasing movements can often trigger the strike. The really exciting part of this is actually having the conditions to watch the whole process. It takes a relatively calm surface with little or no wind, a good pair of polarized sunglasses and a boat with a quiet electric trolling motor. Still quieter approaches might be attained with a push-pole. Obviously, you want to get close enough to see the fish, but not so close that you spook them.

Pike and Musky have very sharp teeth and are quite capable of neatly slicing through even heavy monofilament line. Steel leaders have been a staple of pike fishing for years, but because of their added weight, they are nearly impossible to utilize when finesse fishing little plastic fish baits. The solution has been the introduction of fluorocarbon lines. Strong, nearly invisible in the water, and highly abrasion resistant, fluorocarbon works quite well as a leader material with these toothy critters. It needs to be at least 18 to 20 pound test and you will still loose a few to line cutting, but the majority will be unable to sever it. After each fish you would do well to feel the line for any nicks, cuts, or abrasions, then trim and re-tie. The best I have used has been the "P-Line" products of pure fluorocarbon. You should try to select a color matched to the water you're fishing.

One other thing needs to be said regarding weather. One of my best days fishing for Tiger Musky's was an early spring day during repeated rain squalls and lightning. I don't recommend being on the water during an electrical storm. That being said; during a two hour period of brief rain storms, I caught six Tiger Musky trolling a Lucky-Craft Pointer 128 in Aurora Black. This bait actually has been my "Go-to" bait for Pike and Musky.

Try some of these techniques the next time you are on the water where there are Pike and Musky. You just might find that the next Pike or Musky you catch was not an "incidental" catch, and was actually the fish you intended to catch.

Where to go: Lake Coeur d'Alene and the chain lakes of the Coeur d'Alene River, Idaho, (Pike), Fernan Lake, Idaho, (Pike), Long Lake, Washington, (Pike), Silver Lake, Washington, (Tiger Musky), Hauser Lake, Idaho, (Tiger Musky). Google searches will also yield several destinations in Montana Rivers and reservoirs for pike.

Specialized in: Spring Fishing - Pike - Musky
URL: http://www.max-fishing.com
Print article      Bookmark this page
Related Articles 
Carp and Catfish Baits - Proteins, "Curing" and Enhancing Baits Using Enzymes (Popularity: ): * Exploiting fish meal pastes and using two different pastes recipes together:A great 'edge' where the fish have become used to eating fish meal type boilies and are now hard to hook using them, is to bait up with fish or shellfish meal boilies and pastes. Then use two different types of paste, like fish meal paste and bird food based paste, or liver based paste on the hook, made ...
Great Carp Fishing Books to Improve Your Catches For Life! (Popularity: ): The best carp fishing books and ebooks provide powerful inspiration, proven ideas, exciting new baits, innovative methods, essential resources and much more to transform and improve your catches. Here is real proof they really work so read on...Whether you are considering getting hold of some quality carp fishing information in book or electronic book format for yourself (or for another carp angler as special presents,) there is a great wealth ...
Fish Finders Work Hard to Locate and Put You on Top of a Big Catch (Popularity: ): Fish finders are the best tool to use so you can find and place your boat on top of the fish. All fish finders use sonar to scan the water. A sound wave is sent from the fish finder through the water forming a cone. When an object is detected, the fish finder measures the amount of time between when the sound wave was sent and when it bounced back ...
Equipment That Help You Stay Safe while Spearfishing (Popularity: ): For those who love the water, there are more things to do in the sea aside from swim. Snorkeling is one; scuba-diving is another. Another activity you can incorporate into these two latter options is fishing. No, not fishing from a boat, but down in the water while you are snorkeling or scuba-diving. This activity is called spearfishing and can be quite an adventure. Discover the feeling of being a ...
Lessons for Anglers From a Fishy Education #2 (Popularity: ): If human anglers were able to hear and understand the information conveyed in fish schools, they might be less likely to continue to make some very traditional mistakes in pursuing their prey. By listening in last month, we learned what fish schools are teaching about fishhook avoidance. Today, we will listen in on Lesson II: Fishhook Escape Techniques. We have been assured that this is the typical next step in ...


Related Business 
Muskie Central (Popularity: ): A musky fishing site featuring a message board, chat room, pictures, articles and musky fishing products.
MuskieFIRST (Popularity: ): Musky fishing site featuring a message board, perspectives from muskie pro's, live muskie tournament coverage and musky fishing news.
Just Musky (Popularity: ): On-line sales of musky fishing lures, tackle, rods, reels, and guides
Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain (Popularity: ): Everything you need to know about pike and pike fishing.
Musky Marauders - Muskellunge Fishing (Popularity: ): The Musky Marauders are a group of catch-and-release sport fishermen, dedicated to the pursuit of the muskellunge.
C & R Musky Club (Popularity: ): Information about the club, its activities, members musky photo page, message board, and the most complete Mid-West Musky Events Calendar on the internet.
Musky Innovations LLC (Popularity: ): Northern Pike and Muskie lures including the Bull Dawg and Invader soft plastic baits.
The Pike Crew (Popularity: ): Fishing for northern pike at Black Lake in New York, with tips and tricks on specific areas of lake.
Northland Fishing Tackle (Popularity: ): Fishing tackle for panfish, bass, walleye, trout, northern pike and muskie. Free catalog and fishing guide.
Nelsons Big Fish (Popularity: ): Big lures for serious anglers after big musky and northern pike.